Above: Lini Lambrusco “Labrusca” red paired well with the Jaynes Burger over the weekend at Jaynes Gastropub in San Diego.
It’s actually not sweet… It’s dry and earthly with just a flourish of sweetness… It’s meaty in the mouth and bright on the palate… it cuts through the fat of my cheeseburger like a gorgeous housewife in the Emilian countryside cuts through her pasta dough with a serrated raviolo wheel. Yes, it’s voluptuous and sexy. It’s Lini Lambrusco — one of those “I could drink this every day wines” over here at Do Bianchi.
It’s my obligation to reveal that when it comes to Lini, I’m biased: I had a hand in bringing Lini into this country and Alicia (left) and I became good friends when I worked (pre-mid-life-crisis) with the company that brings her wines in.
Alicia and I shared a truly magical mystery experience when I accompanied her to a radio appearance on the Leonard Lopate show (WNYC) and we ran into “Wonderful Tonight” Patti Boyd in the hallway of the studio. (My post on our encounter is the all-time most-viewed at Do Bianchi.)
Lambrusco remains a greatly misunderstood wine in this country. The association with cheap, sweet quaffing wines, so popular in the late 70s and early 80s, continues to pervade even the informed wine enthusiast’s perception.
In Emilia — one of Italy’s food meccas, rivaled only by Piedmont — farmers like to drink Lambrusco, too. But Lambrusco is not just a wine for field hands. In Modena, Reggio Emilia, and Parma, Lambrusco is served with Emilia’s finest dishes and no other wine pairs better with the region’s famed foods: Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, Culatello, Zampone, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale (di Modena and di Reggio Emilia), Lasagne and Tagliatelle alla Bolognese, and on and on… In Emilia — one of Italy’s most affluent regions — everyone drinks Lambrusco at dinner, from the village barber to the Ferrari corporate executive (they say there are more Ferraris and pigs pro capite in Emilia than anywhere else in the world).
When I lived — many moons ago — in Modena, I once brought some friends a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino. Their response? “Please pass the Lambrusco.”
Which brings me to an important point about wine, wine writing, and wine appreciation: subjectivity is essential to wine appreciation. And I don’t just mean subjectivity as “consciousness of one’s perceived states” but rather in the (Jacques) Lacnian sense, whereby language (the sign or signifier) precedes meaning (signfication). But I’ll reserve that rigmarolery for another post. Just consider this: in Reggio Emilia, I would open a $20 (retail) bottle of 2007 Lini with my bollito misto as my ideal pairing; in Alba (if I could afford it), I’d open a $450 (retail) bottle of Giacosa Barolo Falletto Riserva (Red Label) 1996 with my bollito misto — also an ideal pairing. It’s all in the words of the subject as relates to the object and the other.
On the subject of subjectivity in wine writing, check out this interesting post at Alder Yarrow’s excellent blog Vinography.
In other news…
Today is Bastille Day, an important day for my (pseudo-French) band Nous Non Plus and a personal anniversary of sorts (last year I was in Burgundy on this date, whence my personal revolution began).
In other other news…
Just for kicks, check out this vintage Riunite commercial (which Dr. Vino pointed out to me a few years ago):
Well, um, m’boy, I can SEE why you’re so taken with Lini Lambrusco. Whew. You’d have to try and buy the wine from a young lady that beautiful.
Seriously, as you know, Lambrusco has made some headway with me recently. Nice post.
Pingback: Congratulations Alicia Lini « Vino, I Trulli, Centovini
Ditto what Terence said, on all points.
Not for posting:
Happy Birthday. Hope this one was better than last year’s surprise. Lini is a recurring theme with you. Beauty is good…
Enjoy your day,
I’m from Modena and I am Ziliani’s friend…Very happy to read a post about lambrusco (the wine of my land) so, if you come back in Emilia, write me up for a Lambrusco Tour!! Many greatings,
(sommelier ais Modena)